The field is beautiful this morning, the kind of beauty that you can’t photograph, only feel. The sun is rising in a cloudless blue sky, and making brilliant every frosted blade of grass, evening …. Wednesday 24th February
I’ve reached the low wall of the pavilion now, and I press my finger into a frozen fairy-cushion of silvery moss. The ice melts instantly, and the cushion turns green. I press my finger against my cheek, to test the coldness.
It’s fine for me to be afraid, but it’s really not okay for that fear to make me a coward. I take a deep, cold-air breath, tip my face to the pale winter sun. This morning, I’ve seen and understood something of myself that I can’t ever pretend I hadn’t. I am frightened of old people because of what they are, what they were. Once as strong-armed, straight-backed, as shrill-voiced and energetic, as I am now. I will be like them one day, and it’s that thought that frightens me, not the people themselves.
Source: Wednesday 24th February
The wickets were mown, late last week, and are a lighter square against the dark green of the out-field. An orange rope, the one they use sometimes as a boundary rope, is suspended around the square’s perimeter. It is a grubby white in places, where the orange has frayed free, and reminds me of crumbed ham……
Source: Monday 8th February
…… The hedge bordering Banbury lane is covered by mildewed netting. It bulges and sags, like a pair of old-lady knickers.
We reach the corner by the nets and turn up hill, towards the pavilion with its shuttered winter-face, its empty flagpole. The flag pole makes an impatient, metallic ticking sound when the wind blows, some cleat beating another………….Sunday 31st January
The sky almost couldn’t be more beautiful, more ecstatic, and I know that it heralds rain and greyness to come, but I don’t care. I stand and stretch, pulling in the pink air around me.
Sometimes it’s worth the bad bits, in order to revel in the good.
Dawn is breaking as Pants and I come back from morning walk; great cracks of crimson and violet splitting the dome of the sky. We’ve been to the orchard field, and we go down to the cricket so I can walk clean my boots.
I know my cheeks must be flushed pink, and my hair is wild. I feel vitally, wonderfully alive; the wind is soft against my face, and the air smells of green-things and earth, of new life and living…….
It acts as my barometer; my Nature calendar and a place in which to be gloriously mindless, or earnestly mindful. I’ve walked it wearing ski-gear in minus 6, and I’ve streaked across it at dawn, wearing nothing but wellies and granny-pants, after a fox……: The Year of The Cricket
Every day, every single day, I walk around the cricket field. It’s where I go when I’m happy or miserable, when I’m in a tearing hurry, or whether I’ve got hours. Every dog walk ends or begins with the Field, and I’ll go alone, or with the daughters, or S, or with friends. I walk it clockwise, anticlockwise, traverse as if tacking a dinghy, diagonally or all over randomly, like a big ant.
This year, I’m going to write about my circles of the Field and how it enriches my life. Walking in general has always been a sort of catharsis for me – a way of balancing soaring highs and gut-wrenching lows – but it’s the Field that has become my centre. My children have grown up playing in it, my dogs have chased a million balls in it, and I’ve watched a hundred cricketers smack sixes from it. I’ve had some brilliant nights in it and made life-long friends in it.
It acts as my barometer; my Nature calendar and a place in which to be gloriously mindless, or earnestly mindful. I’ve walked it wearing ski-gear in minus 6, and I’ve streaked across it at dawn, wearing nothing but wellies and granny-pants, after a fox.
I’m not going to write about any cricket gossip, nor village gossip for that matter, because I can’t bear it when people ask me (repeatedly) when they’re going to be in the blog, or add ‘don’t write about this, will you?’ on the end of every sentence. Yes, because you’re so fascinating, I must record your verbosity for posterity. I don’t promise not to satirise any of the more silly comments, but if I do, it won’t be here.
Whenever I walk, regardless of weather, mood, footwear (often unsuitable), company or time, I never stop being grateful for the fact I can. Thank you to Horley Cricket Club for the privilege, and for keeping the field in exactly the perfect way they do.
The Horley Views went digital with its first post “And There Was A Secret Horley Fest” on 17th August 2014. Actually it was a repost of a blog that Carlie Lee wrote a year earlier about Horley Fest. Since then we have put up over 150 posts on the home page newsfeed (blog) and created 61 pages about Horley on the website. Most of the content has been provided by our villagers who organise the many groups and activities. THANK YOU for your efforts; you are the backbone of our small but perfectly formed community.
We Brits are not big on that “praise thang” however everyone that Di and I have spoken to about thehorleyviews.com have said that they really enjoy reading it. We also know that over 80 of you that follow via email and wordpress, as well as just over 200 on Facebook and Twitter. Some of you have told me they have book marked us as a favourite and check in regularly.
One of the reasons social media is so brilliant is that we can instantly see if the content is being looked at. There are stats for the number of views, visitors, whether they come direct or via another media. We can create graphs such this one below showing by country the 10, 500 views that, 9,500 as you would expect are in the UK. We can be pretty sure on who is viewing in the US, France, Bahrain and those down under but who knew our little corner of North Oxfordshire was so global!
Another aspect of social media that helps is the fact that we instantly share the posts with our twitter feed (@horleyviews) and Facebook page (horley.views). We also follow with other Horley groups such as the Horley Cricket Club site, or on facebook Horley Playgroup , these and many Other Links, Local Villages and Gastropubs as seen in the right column, be sure to scroll down.
We have a rising star in out midst as Judy has not only found fame on our website and Facebook pages but now even has her own twitter hashtag …. #SelfieWithJudy
What started out as an online news feed for Horley Views Magazine has become a website for all our activities and where Horley Parish Council can openly share its information. We are also really pleased to be able to share some of our Pub’s successes and events – Dave and Natasha are really at the heart this village. But our boundaries don’t stop at the 30mph sign – we also have close ties with our neighbours especially Hornton and Hanwell, and families and friends who live there and nearby.
So what’s in store for our second digital year???
Well it’s up to you; it’s your resource and you can share whatever you would like, in whatever format. We would love to get more people involved and support any ideas you may have. You don’t have to understand the technology you just need to be passionate about something and want to share it.
It could be anything about Horley Life, or something you are involved that would be of interest. How about a living memory history of Horley? Photo Album? Country life and farming? A history group like Hornton? Or a guess the baby photo competition , yes that right I still have them from a village fete years ago! Let us know, Di & Deb …………….
Carlie’s blog on the “Inaugural Barn Dance” at Hornton Grounds Farm, see who you can spot On Barn Dancing.
Here comes summer……it’s the land that has really changed; the earth has warmed up, and you can smell summer on the air. Down in Bra Corner there’s a clump of pink campions, flowering as high as my hip, and nettles, growing even higher. The Sor Brook is low and slow; its depths bronzed in the sunlight……
I am walking through the margins in the fields below the dryer, where the grass reaches my mid-thigh, and soaks my jeans above my wellies. I’m walking very slowly, suddenly noticing that there’s a world around me, and that it’s changed completely from the last time I looked.
I have been finishing a book, and for the last two months or so, have thought of little else. The book has been sent away now, to Judith, my agent, and I feel as if I’m returning from someplace I can’t explain.
Stevie is relieved it’s over, and both children seem to have grown an inch or so.
But it’s the land that has really changed; the earth has warmed up, and you can smell summer on the air. Down in Bra Corner there’s a clump of pink campions, flowering as high as my hip, and nettles, growing even higher. The Sor Brook…
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Another blinder by our resident pro blogger “I climb the bank to the stile and pause, looking out over the valley towards Horley. The mist has almost burnt away now, the village has reappeared in the early sun. I shimmy through the uprights of the stile, holding the goat ……..”
It’s the Easter Bank Holiday, and I’m walking before the family arrive, before the house is filled with mad, chocolate-stuffed children, claw-clattering dogs; veg peeling, gravy-making, beef-carving (Are We Sure It’s Done?) and the best of the family gossip. It’s barely eight o’clock, and I slide away from the breakfast dishes muttering about willow branches, their immediate collection deadly necessary for the Easter flower arrangement. It’s still misty down here by the Sor Brook; I’m hidden, hiding.
I hear the rusting-hinge shriek of a pheasant, see Pants shoot off to my right, like a speckled rocket. I follow the deer tracks along the margin, Dora stepping carefully in my wake. Some of the cloven hooves are less than an inch long, and I think of dancing fauns and Rites of Spring.
In Emma’s Meadow, the mist thickens, and I turn left, into the wall of it. The end of the meadow is where the old mill…
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